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The West Hollywood City Council unanimously approved an ordinance to increase its city hourly minimum wage to $17.64 by 2023, which would make it the country’s highest.

A gradual increase would begin in 2022, before reaching a full $17.64 by July of the following year.

“Cost of living is rising everywhere — it’s getting more & more expensive to live, work, & raise a family. Our minimum wage should reflect that reality,” Councilmember Lindsey P. Horvath said in a Twitter post. “I am proud to be part of this thoughtful step for our City. The wealth generated by an increased minimum wage will raise more people into the middle class, drive more consumer spending, & create a more stable, prosperous, & business-friendly economy.”

Not all West Hollywood business owners were thrilled with the timing of the ordinance, with reality star Lisa Vanderpump being a vocal leader in its opposition.

Vanderpump owns two restaurants in West Hollywood named “Pump” and “Tom Tom,” and said that businesses should be given more time to recover from the pandemic before enforcing an employee wage hike. She also added that employees who earn tips should not be included in the same tier as those who do not earn tips.

“West Hollywood could venture forward as the first to implement a tiered wage structure that would be not only be fair on workers, but maintainable for businesses,” Vanderpump said in a letter to the council. “We also urge you to carve out different structures for tipped employees of the hospitality industry so that moving forward there is a sustainable model that not only protects hourly employees, but the businesses that must stay operational in order to employee them.”

The current minimum hourly wage in California is $13 per hour for businesses with fewer than 26 employees and $14 per hour for businesses with more than 24 employees. Both California wages will increase by $1 at the start of 2022.

LA Weekly